Tech Nation

Israel ranked No. 2 in cyber, Partner workers near unionization, Israel to get futuristic public transit, RRsat to show World Cup in Asia and Golan again hints at expansion.

Image courtesy of: www.skytran.us

Israel to get skyTran public transit of the future

California-based skyTran has teamed up with Israel Aerospace Industries to construct the world’s first public pilot project for skyTran’s elevated transit network, to be built in Israel. A number of skyTran projects are being planned globally, including in India and the United States, pending the success of the pilot in Israel. The pilot will be a 400-500 meter loop built at IAI’s campus in central Israel and, if successful, will be followed by a commercial network in Tel Aviv in coming years, skyTran CEO Jerry Sanders told Reuters, without disclosing the cost.

SkyTran is a rapid transit system in which lightweight two-person vehicles are suspended from elevated magnetic levitation tracks. “Tel Aviv is a world city. It’s a destination for people around the world, a center of commerce. Israelis love technology, and we don’t foresee a problem of people not wanting to use the system. Israel is a perfect test site,” Sanders said. (Reuters)

Report: Israel second only to U.S. in cyber products

Israeli exports of cyber-related products and services last year reached $3 billion, some 5% percent of the global market and more than all other nations combined apart from the United States, the Defense News website reported, citing Israel’s National Cyber Bureau. Isaac Ben-Israel, a retired senior Israel Defense Forces official who chaired a task force that advocated for the establishment of the cyber bureau, said Israel aspires to 10% of the global market in less than five years, according to the website. “We’re already at 5%. With the capabilities we have now and the programs and partnerships that are being planned, I see us realistically reaching that goal in the near term,” he told Defense News. (TheMarker)

Partner Communications workers unionize, demand collective pact

More than a third of the workforce of Partner Communications, which does business as Orange, have signed up for union membership, the Histadrut labor federation announced on Wednesday. If true, this would require the cellular service provider to recognize the union and negotiate with it. Partner, which says it is currently verifying that a third of its workforce has signed on, would be the last of the three veteran cellular service providers to unionize, following the lead of Cellcom and Pelephone. The Histadrut is now calling on Partner’s management to negotiate a collective wage agreement with the company’s workforce. Partner's management has met the unionization drive with stiff resistance, as did Pelephone's management when its workforce started the unionization trend in the cellular service industry. A collective wage agreement was reached at Pelephone about six months ago, providing financial benefits but also giving the company the right to lay off staff. (Haim Bior)

RRsat to broadcast World Cup throughout Asia in advanced high resolution

Following the signing of a contract with the European Broadcasting Union, RRsat Global Communications Network of Lod, Israel, will be broadcasting the upcoming World Cup games from Brazil to countries throughout Asia in advanced 4K high-resolution technology. The contract, which is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, will have RRsat broadcast soccer matches from the second stage through the finals of the World Cup. The name "4K technology" refers to the technology's horizontal broadcast image resolution of 4,000 pixels. According to the website of the Nasdaq-traded Israeli company, RRsat has the capacity to reach 95% of the world’s population in more than 150 countries. (Dror Reich)

Golan Telecom hints it will venture into TV and Internet services

Golan Telecom has again dropped hints that it is considering offering multichannel television and Internet services. The upstart company, which drove down the price of cellular service by challenging the longtime players in the market, posted a message on Facebook and Twitter noting the competition it injected into the cellular market and asking: “So how much are you paying today for Internet and television service?” Golan Telecom founder Michael Golan has mentioned the prospect of his company’s expanding in this direction, but the move is not considered imminent. Golan is expected to wait for changes in regulation. The publicity pitch is seen as a way of priming consumers. (Amitai Ziv)